VARIOUS: Atomic scientists adjust Doomsday clock saying nuclear global threat is growing
- Title: VARIOUS: Atomic scientists adjust Doomsday clock saying nuclear global threat is growing
- Date: 18th January 2007
- Summary: (BN13) WEST BERLIN, GERMANY (FILE - NOVEMBER 9, 1989) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TAKING AXES TO BERLIN WALL / END OF COLD WAR WHEN DOOMSDAY NUCLEAR THREAT AT LOWEST POINT
- Reuters ID: LVAAQ1E0HM717F3QFBVME4ZKGXZ3
- Duration: 00:00:12
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- Topics: Science / Technology
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- Story Text: The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock on Wednesday (January 17) announced in Washington that they are moving it two minutes closer to midnight -- symbolising the annihilation of civilisation. For the first time they added the perils of global warming to acute nuclear threats as reasons for changing the time from seven minutes to midnight to five minutes to midnight
Announcing they are moving the Doomsday clock two minutes closer to midnight, scientists in Washington DC on Wednesday (January 17) said the world is at the brink of a second nuclear age.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons, advanced the clock to five minutes until midnight. It was the first adjustment of the clock since 2002.
Kennette Benedict, Executive Director of the Bulletin said, "It is now five minutes to midnight. This change reflects global failures to solve the problems solved by nuclear weapons and by climate change."
They pointed to North Korea's first test of a nuclear weapon last year, Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. flirtation with "bunker buster" nuclear bombs, the continued presence of 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia and inadequate security for nuclear materials.
But the scientists also said the destruction of human habitats wreaked by climate change brought on by human activities is a growing danger to humankind.
In 2002, the bulletin's scientists moved the clock two minutes forward in 2002, to seven minutes until midnight following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The bulletin was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had worked on developing the first nuclear bomb, and it is now overseen by some of the world's most prominent scientists.
The bulletin created the clock in 1947, two years after the United States ushered in the nuclear age by dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War Two, to symbolize the urgent nuclear dangers confronting the world.
The clock's highest threat point was in 1953 when the clock was set to two minutes to midnight in the year that both the US and USSR tested thermonuclear devices. The lowest threat point was at the end of the Cold War when in 1991 when the US and USSR signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
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- Embargoed:2nd February 2007 12:00